Masters in Nursing

What Could You Learn in a Masters of Nursing

A Master Degree in Nursing may provide students with the ability to gain additional skills and insights into the field of nursing. A graduate nursing program may provide a range of topics that nurses find interesting or wish to focus their career on going forward. These degree programs may often provide a lot of flexibility in that they allow students to choose topics that work for their needs or desired career goals.

To complete a master’s program in nursing, many students may need to first earn their bachelor’s degree and all required prerequisites. These are set by the college or university and may differ by location. Once admitted into the program, students may be able to choose from several courses and educational paths to find the type of education that fits their goals and interests.

Nursing masters

Featured Online Programs in Nursing

25 Schools Graduating Students with a Masters of Nursing

The following are 25 schools in the U.S. based on the number of students graduating with a Master Degree in Nursing in 2020, according to NCES.

College / UniversityGraduatesAcceptance Rate
Walden University4106N/A
Chamberlain University-Illinois1229100%
University of South Alabama66679%
University of Alabama at Birmingham61774%
Grand Canyon University55577%
Drexel University33875%
Georgetown University29114%
Columbia University in the City of New York2775%
Regis College26879%
Johns Hopkins University26411%
Ohio State University-Main Campus25154%
University of South Florida25148%
Marquette University22083%
DePaul University20668%
Thomas Jefferson University20366%
University of Arizona19385%
Azusa Pacific University18967%
Kent State University at Kent17386%
University of Alabama in Huntsville16283%
University of California-San Francisco156N/A
Wilkes University15579%
University of Virginia-Main Campus13324%
East Tennessee State University13186%
Florida Atlantic University12963%
Augusta University12476%

Nursing Masters Courses May Include

Students may want to choose courses for a field that interests them. Some examples may include working as a certified nurse midwife, certified registered nurse, or a clinical nurse specialist. Some may wish to pursue work as an educator in the field or may wish to complete administrative courses. There are numerous paths that may be available to fit many needs.

Take a closer look at some of the courses common in a Master of Nursing, though they may differ from school to school.

1st course Healthcare Systems

Healthcare Systems

This course generally introduces students to the history of the health care system in the United States. The structure, major components, and how it has evolved are all topics typically covered in this course. Health care policy, technology, and research are often included as well.

2nd course Modern Organizations and Healthcare

Modern Organizations and Healthcare

This course typically covers topics that include how human behaviors affect the healthcare industry. Topics may include individual behaviors, decision making, leadership, and conflict management. Learning and teaching in a multicultural environment is also usually covered.

3rd Course Legal and Ethical Issues in Healthcare

In this course, the legal and ethical issues in health care and how they directly affect nurses are usually covered. Students may learn how to deal with and navigate through these legal and ethical issues. Learning of regulatory issues and how to apply them and make sure that they are being enforced properly is also usually covered.

4th Course Healthcare Informatics

Healthcare Informatics

This course typically starts by providing a history of informatics in health care and how it is applied. The students may be introduced to its purpose and how it has changed over time. The students also may see how the information is applied and what is possible for the future.

5th Course Diverse Populations and Health Care

Diverse Populations and Health Care

This course typically covers cultural diversity as it applies to nursing. Assessment planning and interventions for health promotion and maintenance are common topics in this program. Health and illness of various ethnocultural groups and communities are often covered.

6th Course Forensic nursing

Forensic nursing

This course is usually designed for those pursuing the field of forensic nursing. The course may cover the history and evolution of the field. An introduction to the various roles and responsibilities of a forensic nurse may also be a part of this course.

  • MSN program applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree, registered nurse (RN) license, and three years of nursing experience.
  • Core Degree Courses (21 Credits)
  • You may be eligible to receive financial aid to help cover the cost of your education.

5 Most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about a Masters of Nursing

Individuals completing a master in nursing may be able to pursue work in a range of roles depending on the topic focus or specific skills earned. Some examples including working as a nurse administrator, nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, or a certified registered nurse anesthetist, or others.

A typical master’s degree in nursing takes about two years to earn. It may be possible to shorten this time through an accelerated education tract. Some students may find it takes longer, at around six years, if they do not have a nursing background.

A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is a type of graduate program that often allows registered nurses or those with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing to complete additional education. A program that offers and RN to MSN may allow the student to move from an RN position into a MSN track and may help the student earn their degree sooner.

Many times, a master’s degree in nursing includes rigorous work and studying. There is quite a bit to learn in these programs, typically, and that may make them more challenging to complete than a bachelor’s degree. Nursing itself is often a difficult field.

This depends on your specific needs. Many students pursue a degree that enables them to pursue a career in a field that interests them such as cardiology, pediatrics, geriatrics, anesthesiology, or other specific areas of study.

Find Funding for Nursing Master’s Programs

For those thinking about completing their master of nursing education, the first step may be applying for programs and finding funding. There are multiple potential options available to help cover the cost of a graduate school for master’s degrees in nursing. Financial aid may be available to those that qualify.

However, each opportunity for borrowers is a bit different from the next. That is why many students should spend time comparing opportunities to seek out the options that fit their needs and circumstances. Here are some examples of funding options that may apply.


One option for funding some or all of a student’s graduate education is to use a scholarship, if available. These are often available to many people based on qualifications as well as applications. There may be many steps that go into qualifying for them in some situations. The key is to seek them out, if available, to help cover the cost of education with no requirement to repay the funds. Take a look at the potential options in scholarships for a master’s in nursing degree.

AfterCollege/AACN $10,000 Scholarship Fund

Who Can Apply: The AfterCollege/AACN Scholarship is available to U.S. graduate and undergraduate students who are pursuing an education in nursing or a related healthcare field.

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: December 31

The American Association of Post-Acute Nursing (AAPACN)

Who Can Apply: Arizona State University awards a $1,000 Friends of History Scholarship to an undergraduate student who has a declared major in history.

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: January 1

March of Dimes Graduate Nursing Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is available for registered nurses enrolled in a graduate program for maternal-child nursing. Applicants must be members of one or more of the following professional organizations: the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses; the American College of Nurse-Midwives; or the National Association of Neonatal Nurses.

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: January 24

James M. & Erma T. Freemont Foundation Scholarship Program – Graduate Students

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is open to U.S. students who are pursuing a graduate degree in the health and medical sciences with the intention of pursuing that discipline as a career. Students must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

Amount: $1,875

Deadline: January 31

Federal Loans

One option that some students may wish to consider is a federal loan. These student loans are available to some master’s degree students. These are loans backed by the U.S. federal government and typically have very specific rules for application. Those who are seeking out financing to cover the cost of their education may wish to start here to find any available funds for their master in nursing degree. NCES found that the average tuition for a master’s degree in the U.S. for the 2018 to 2019 school year was $19,947. For many, financing this is important.

Not all student loans may cover graduate education. There are a few options to consider:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans: These are typically available to graduate schools and professional students. Unlike direct subsidized loans, which are made available to undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need, direct unsubsidized loans usually do not have a need based requirement. More students may be eligible for them.
  • Direct PLUS Loans: These are loans typically made available to professional or graduate level students. They are designed to pay for educational expenses that are typically not paid for through other loans. Eligibility for these loans is not based on financial need, though. However, some require a credit check to be performed, and borrowers may not qualify without meeting other requirements in some cases.
  • Direct Consolidation Loans: These loans may enable a student to combine all of their undergraduate and graduate level federal debt into one new loan. This consolidation loan is typically provided after a student completes their education.

Private Student Loans

Some students may need more funding or may wish to use private lenders instead of the government to help cover the cost of their education. Private student loans may help with this. These loans are not backed by the federal government. As a result, they typically have different requirements and eligibility rules. They may also have differences related to costs, access, and repayment.

Those who wish to consider private student loans should learn the details of those offers before accepting them. Some things to consider include:

  • Credit score and income requirements
  • If consolidation later is an option
  • Origination and other fees for obtaining the loan
  • How much is available
  • Limitations on access based on GPA or other rules
  • Interest rates and terms

Is nurse practitioner a great career?

A nurse practitioner is one career path students may wish to consider with a master’s degree in nursing. This type of career path may include working in numerous setting types providing diagnostic and treatment options for acute, chronic, or other types of illness and injury. Those working as a nurse practitioner may focus on health promotion as well as disease prevention alongside treatment of illness. They may work to perform tests and complete as well as analyst x-rays and lab work. They may prescribe medication in many states.

A nurse practitioner’s work may include completing records of a person’s health care plans and prognosis, developing treatment plans for them, using the standards of care and professional practice guidelines, and they may analyze patient histories, symptoms, and physical findings to make decisions on the type of care a person requires.

To complete these types of tasks, nurse practitioners may often need to have active listening skills, complex problem solving skills, and be critical thinkers. They may need some technology skills to operate software programs in treatment centers as well.

Nursing Masters , Important skills for Nurse Practitioners
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

The day-to-day work of a nurse practitioner is often dependent on the type of environment they work in, but may include recording patient medical histories, analyzing test data and making informed diagnosis and treatment plans, development medical treatment plans, and diagnosing conditions.

To complete this work, many individuals need to earn a master’s degree, and some may benefit from a doctoral degree program. Students also must sit for and pass the nurse licensing exam within their state to provide these types of services to patients. There may be some positions that require up to 5 years of working experience for a person to secure it. More so, there is often very little on-the-job learning provided in these positions.

2022 Median Annual Salary for Nurse Practitioner

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that a nurse practitioner median salary in 2022 was the following, per state:

New Jersey$143,250Missouri$113,180
New YorkN/ANebraska$118,970
North Dakota$113,940New Hampshire$125,780
Oklahoma$121,740New Mexico$129,560
Pennsylvania$120,550North Carolina$114,450
South Carolina$109,130Ohio$117,440
Utah$115610Rhode Island$125,250
Virginia$116,980South Dakota$115,610
West Virginia$106,790Wyoming$115,230

Is clinical nurse specialist a perfect career?

A clinical nurse specialist is a person that typically directs other nursing staff to providing patient care. This is typically in a clinical practice setting, such as a clinic, hospital, hospice center, or in a home. These individuals often work to ensure adherence to established policies, protocols, standards, and regulations within those environments.

Those working as a clinical nurse specialist may need to have some tech skills to handle medical records and communications. They may also need to have active listening skills, critical thinking skills, and be service oriented.

Nursing Masters , Important skills for clinical nurse specialists
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.

The day-to-day tasks in this position may include collaborating with other health care providers, including doctors, other nurses, and medical staff members, to create a plan and provide treatment to patients. They may also work to establish nursing policies and standards within the work environment, train some medical providers, and supervise patient care personnel. In some cases, they also work to maintain medical and professional knowledge to stay up to date with industry changes.

To work as a clinical nurse specialist, individuals typically need to have earned a master’s degree or higher, with some employers requiring individuals to also complete a doctoral degree program. They may also need to have some experience in the field of nursing. There is some on-the-job learning, but this often includes just learning the location’s procedures and policies rather than hands-on education. In addition to this, those working as clinical nurse specialists may also need to have their state-issued license, which requires specific education and a certification test issued by the state in many cases.

2022 Median Annual Salary for Clinical Nurse Specialist

Those working as a clinical nurse specialist in the U.S. earned the following median salary in 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

New Jersey$96,670Missouri$71,860
New York$100,130Nebraska$73,510
North Dakota$75,000New Hampshire$83,420
Oklahoma$76,920New Mexico$85,580
Pennsylvania$80,630North Carolina$77,420
South Carolina$74,330Ohio$78,450
Utah$76,400Rhode Island$88250
Virginia$81,860South Dakota$64,500
West Virginia$69,200Wyoming$81,010

This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer or guarantee of employment and that may help prepare students to meet the licensing or certification requirements of the field they choose to study. Students should check with the appropriate licensing or certifying body to make sure the program they apply to will help meet any licensing or certification requirements. Students should also consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum.


Sandy Baker


Sandy has extensive experience writing educational articles for topics ranging from online education to college degrees. She’s worked with several Ivy League colleges to create blogs, newsletters, sales material for recruiting as well as “how to manage” college lifestyle pieces. Additionally, she’s written for well-respected study abroad programs helping students to find international opportunities spanning the globe from South America to Africa and Asia.

Sandy’s experience also includes writing about financial aid, FAFSA, scholarship searches, and managing college loans and grants. This includes aiding both students and parents in managing the application and financial aid process from start to finish. Her writing in this area has been featured in The New York Times, Cleveland Magazine, and several blogs.

Sponsored Result

Study anywhere. Study any time.

Join the millions earning their degrees online!

32.6% of graduate students were enrolled exclusively in online courses in 2019*.